Originally posted December 31, 2017 on the previous Little Mountains Blog website.
I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. That may be partially to blame on my three years working for my school’s gym during college, when every January the rec center would explode with new faces and then I’d watch them slowly die off like The Hunger Games. It also may be because I don’t like setting myself up for failure, and making any kind of resolution for an entire year holds an intimidating amount of weight to me.
I think the idea of the new year is romantic, that we get a fresh start every time the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. But if we’re being real (and as a borderline pessimistic realist, I like to keep it real), January 1st is just another day. We’re the same people we were the day before. The only difference is now we have to figure out a way to turn 7’s into 8’s when we inevitably write the date wrong for the next few months.
Now for those of you that wholeheartedly believe in making New Year’s resolutions and do so fervently every year, more power to you. I don’t mean to be a drag on your goals. It’s just not for me.
I do have my own little ritual for the new year, however. I like to use this holiday as a chance to reflect, to think about what I learned during the year gone by. I don’t want to dismiss the past year in a full throttle sprint into the new one, but rather I like to actively think about what lessons I’ll be taking with me into the new year. Whatever kind of year I had, I know it will certainly inform how the next one takes shape.
2017 has been quite a year for me. I left a city and a relationship behind, neither of which I was ever sure about. I focused on friendships that serve me and I let others go. I danced to a lot of music. I found a way to make writing my career and it’s a struggle and so worth it every day. I moved into my own apartment in a city I love, and I became a cat mom to the best little one-eyed creature basically ever. I reconnected with old friends that have known so many versions of me. I made huge steps for my anxiety. And I started this blog, which has been incredible and frustrating and important and one of the things I’m proudest of this year.
In simple terms, these are the lessons I’m taking with me into 2018: It’s okay to do things your way, even if it means not living up to someone else’s standards. Following your passion is scary as all hell and worth it beyond measure. Struggling in a different way every day is just part of being an adult. People will always surprise you, and that can be a both a good and bad thing.
But enough about me. With this being my last post of 2017, I wanted to do a little experiment. I asked some friends and family to send me lessons they had learned during 2017 that they’d be taking with them into the new year. As I am forever fascinated with the collective human experience, I wanted to see how everyone’s lessons would speak to one another. So I took bits and pieces of each and put them together in this little poem. It goes like this:
I met some nice people,
and some not nice people.
And I learned to balance out my people pleasing side.
We are more similar
than we are different.
If you don’t like something, change it.
And it’s okay to take steps to help yourself.
I’m not a burden.
By prioritizing myself
I am not necessarily taking away from others.
Being strong or possessing grit does not mean going it alone.
And everything seems like it’s the end of the world
Until it doesn’t.
I’m trying to trust my gut more
To take the big risks and see what happens.
I don’t think I’m ever going to reach a point where I stop making mistakes.
But I think that means that I’ll never reach a point where I stop growing
and that’s pretty cool.
Here’s to 2018, here’s to you, and here’s to whatever you’re taking with you into the new year. And thank you, thank you, thank you for reading along with me. It means more than you know.